Figures published music industry body the BPI show that Brits streamed 3.7bn songs from streaming music services like Spotify and Deezer in 2012.
It’s the first year such a figure has been released, although the BPI didn’t break it down between online and mobile/tablet streams.
In the US, music services like Pandora report that more than 70% of their usage is mobile, so we suspect a decent chunk of the UK streams are also from smartphones and tablets, rather than computers.
The BPI figure does not include streams of videos from services like YouTube and Vevo, nor does it outline the actual revenues generated by the 3.7bn song streams.
That makes it hard to judge how all those streams filter into the bigger picture for music sales, with the BPI reporting that digital album sales rose 14.8% to 30.5m units in 2012, but that this didn’t make up for a 19.5% drop in CD sales to 69.4m.
Single-track sales rose 6% to 188.6m units in 2012, though – and again, we suspect mobile has an important role in this, thanks to iTunes on iPhone and iPad, as well as other digital stores’ mobile presences.